News that BMW is developing a new direct-injection turbocharged 3-cylinder for the next generation of MINI models has been circulating for a few weeks now, but now it appears as though the same pint-sized powerplant will be used in the BMW lineup as well. According to a recent report by the well-informed MINI faithful at MotoringFile, the first BMW to get the turbo 3-banger will be the front-drive BMW 1 Series hatch – hardly a surprise considering it's based on the same platform as the next MINI. After that, however, it is slated to arrive in the next-generation BMW 3 Series, X3 and X1 as a low cost alternative. It's unlikely that BMW is planning to offer a 3-cylinder 3 Series in the U.S., but there's a real possibility for the X1 and 1 Series Coupe.
As for the engine itself, it is slated to displace 500cc per cylinder and in 1.5-liter turbo form could make as much as 180-hp. In the MINI lineup and with roughly 120-hp in base Cooper models it could also get 50-mpg (on the European test cycle).
Expect to see BMW developing turbocharged direct injection 4-cylinder as well.
According to this most recent report BMW's plan is to increasingly focus on the 500cc per cylinder engineering philosophy in a bid to share parts and cut costs.
More: Next-Gen BMW 3 Series to Get Turbo 3-Cylinder